Journi
Overview

Traveling alone can be an exciting and liberating adventure. For female travelers though, there are often more considerable threats and safety meausres that must be taken. The number of solo female travelers have been considerably increasing over the past few years, but concerns such as assault, not knowing the area well enough, or getting lost, can discourage women from taking that independent step of venturing out by themselves. Our team wanted to create something that would give solo female travelers the extra confidence and safety protection they need to confidently travel and visit new place.s 

 

Our project goals were to identify the risks associated with traveling alone as a woman, and create a mobile app that would provide preventative safety measures and safety information about where they were traveling. 

Deliverables

Mobile App

Timeline

Winter & Spring Quarters 2019: 6 months

Undergrad Capstone

Team Members

Su Li

Ben Siev

Junior Tran-Thien

Yin Yin

My Role

Project Manager

UX Designer

Design Process

Below is the design process of my team during this project. We followed a rough Agile method, putting emphasis on multiple iterations and pivoting ideas when need be. 

Research

Brainstorm

Ideation

Testing

Background

Whiteboard Sessions

Low Fidelity Mockup

Peer Review

Interviews

Surveys

Prototype

Feedback Sessions

How Might We

Design

High Fidelity Mockup

Future

Reflection

Persona

Background

According to a 2017 Princeton Survey Research Associates study, 58% of millenials reported wanting to travel alone at some point in their lifetime. Out of 47% of people registered as “solo travelers” with Overseas Adventure Travel, 85% of those solo travelers were women. In addition to that, Google searches for “solo women travel” increased 35% in 2017, 59% in 2018, and an incredible 230% in 2019. Needless to say, the idea of traveling alone as a woman was taking off, but there also were considerable safety concerns. 

 

Our team also found that 80% of women had seriously considered safety concerns before traveling alone, with nearly two thirds of women actively thinking about their personal safety while traveling. According to a Maiden Voyage Women in Travel survey, one in four women traveling alone had been assaulted, whether it was a physical attack, sexual harassment, or attempted kidnapping.

Interviews

Our team wanted to find out what the main concerns that women had when traveling alone, so we sat down with 12 different women to ask them what their concerns are about traveling lone, and what things would keep them from ever traveling alone. Here are some of their responses:

Jessica - 19

“When I’m going to a place that’s known for being sketchy, I get pretty scared”

Sandra - 22

“I'm always worried about not knowing the city well enough”

Christina - 45

“I'm mainly just concerned about being attacked”

Wanda - 50 

“If something happens to me, how do I let my family know?”

Joanne - 23

“If I was in trouble, I wouldn't know where to go”

Natania - 20

“I'm pretty small so I'd be worried about getting kidnapped”

Sasha - 30

“Being taken advantage of sexually by strangers is my biggest concern”

Danny - 28

“My mom worries about me, and I'd want a way to help her feel reassured”

Survey

We realized from our interviews that there were several different areas of things that women were concerned about when traveling alone. In order to get a larger, quantifiable answer, we created a survey and sent it to over 100 women asking them what were the top things that concerned them about traveling by themselves. Our survey showed that the top three concerns for traveling alone were: 

1. Not being able to communicate with family/friends in case of danger

2. Being physically or sexually assaulted

3. Not knowing the area well enough

Whiteboard Sessions

With the responses from our interviews and survey, our team had a clearer idea of what kinds of issues to address when creating our product, and could narrow it down into a key problem statements:

 

1. Not knowing the area well enough is a major hinderence from women traveling by themselves.

2. Many women reported feeling like they would not have enough help in an emergency situation.

3. Fear of loved ones not knowing where they were was also a key concern for women traveling alone. 

 

Based on these above statements, our team had a problem space to design for. As project manager I lead my team through a major brainstorming session to decide what kind product we were going to build to address these issues. 

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User Journey Map & Personas

Below are our user journey maps and personas we created to help us get in the right mind space for what deliverable we were going to design.

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How Might We

After bouncing back and forth between ideas such as wearable tattoos and weapons disguised as jewelry, our team decided that designing a mobile app would be the most affordable, reachable, and useful means of addressing our problem statements. This lead us to define an official “how might we” statement about our project.

How might we design a mobile app that helps young solo female travelers be more aware of their safety and provides accessible emergency support?

Low Fidelity Mockup

Below are the features and wireframes of our first iteration of an app. We categorized each feature into which specific problem area it was attempting to solve. 

 

Problem 1: Fear of being assaulted/not knowing what to do in case of an emergency

Solution 1: Include a “panic button” that would immediately alert authorities/loved ones

 

Problem 2: Fear of not knowing the area well enough

Solution 2a: Include an overview of the city you’re in

Solution 2b: Include “danger zones” based off the number of crimes in certain neighborhoods

 

Problem 3: Fear of not being able to contact loved ones

Solution 3a: Include gps tracking linked to emergency contacts’ devices

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A panic button that, when pressed, would notify the selected groups of your last known location. 

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An overview of whichever city you are currently in. 

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A map showing which areas/neighborhoods are safe or dangerous, depending on crime data reported in each area. 

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GPS tracking page which shows your current location as well as other contacts you have set up with the app. 

The main feedback we got was that our app may be scaring its users instead of empowering them and making them feel safer. By providing them with “negative” information, such as dangerous parts of town, this may have a reverse effect where users are feeling on edge and nervous while out on their own. Since the goal of our app is to help women feel safe while traveling alone, we decided to omit this feature and instead highlight neighborhoods known for their safety. 

 

Along these same lines, our testees suggested that the gps tracking feature may not appeal to people traveling on their own; there may be travelers who don’t like the idea of their location always being accessible. Based on this feedback, we decided to we decided to create an optional check-in feature, which would notify preset emergency contacts in case the user failed to check in via our app’s periodic notifications. 

Iteration 1

Solutions with an asteriks (*) next to them indictae a pivot in our feature design. All other solutions were finessed upon. 

 

Problem 1: Fear of being assaulted/not knowing what to do in case of an emergency

Solution 1: Include a “panic button” that would immediately alert authorities/loved ones

 

Problem 2: Fear of not knowing the area well enough

Solution 2aInclude an overview of the city you’re in, highlighting safe neighborhoods.

*Solution 2b: Provide key landmarks near your location and local police/medical resources

 

Problem 3: Fear of not being able to contact loved ones

*Solution 3a: Include an optional check-in feature that allows Journi to send you periodical notifications asking you to verify you are safe. In case you are unable to respond, Journi will notify preset emergency contacts of your last known location 

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A re-mockup of the panic button, but with the same intent. We were hoping to make it easier for the user to signal the panic button by simply pressing the top right corner of the screen three times, regardless of what page of the app they are on. This was also a first attempt at a profile page. 

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An iteration on the city overview page. We still wanted to include information about particularily safe neighborhoods in each city, as this focuses on the positive aspects of the user's travels and lets them know safe places to visit.  

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This resources page provides information about landmarks near the user, as well as hospitals, police stations, and 24 hour stores. 

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Journi's check-in page, which gives users the option to turn on periodic check-ins. Every 'X' amount of time, journi will ask the user to check in; if they fail to do so, an automatic message will send to the user's emergen

After this second round of testing, our participants pointed out that, in the case of an emergency, there may not be enough time to press the panic button, or the user may be incapacitated and not have their phone. They pointed out that our automated check-in feature would help solve the issue of automatically contacting people if you were in danger. Based on this feedback, we decided to pull the panic button altogether.

Iteration 2

Besides pulling the panic button feature, we decided to finalize the rest of our features and do one more low-fidelity mockup before moving onto high fidelity. Below are our final "low-fi" wireframes for our key features.

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High Fidelity Mockup

After finalizing our wireframes, we created a user case story - modeled around myself, since I love to travel :) - to go along with our high fidelity mockups. This way, we had a clear profile to follow when designing the profile and mood of our app.

“Angela is a college student who has dreamed of traveling the world. She has gone on trips before with friends, but is now taking her first solo trip to Seattle for three weeks. Angela doesn’t know too much about Seattle other than what she’s seen on social media, and her mom is greatly concerned for her safety as a young adult female traveling alone. A few days before leaving, one of Angela’s friends suggests she download Journi so that she can read up about Seattle and remain connected to her mom while she’s away. Angela goes into her trip feeling more confident about where she’s going, and knows that her mom’s mind is more at ease knowing that she’ll be able to receive updates about her daughter’s well being.”

On-boarding Experience & City Information

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Upon opening the app, Angela is prompted to create an account, and has the option to sign up with Airbnb. Since Angela booked her Seattle trip through Airbnb, she uses the Airbnb option to sign in with her pre-existing account. Angela is then asked to enter some personal information, including her home address, email, and phone number.

Personalized Safety Card & Valuable Information

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After Angela creates her account, she is brought to Journi’s homepage, where she is shown her personal “Safety Pocket Card.” Since Angela signed up with Airbnb, Journi could populate the address she is staying at during her trip. Her real-time location is shown with key landmarks near her in case she gets lost. Angela can now add emergency contacts if she chooses and set up her automated check-ins. 

Reflection

The main thing I took away from this project was the importance of user research and testing that needs to go into every design. We spent nearly 2/3 of our allotted project time researching in order to back-up our problem space. As the Project Manager, this was slightly alarming at first; I felt like our team would quickly fall behind in the production phase, but it actually made our designing process much easier than I expected. Having the data and background knowledge to the problem space we were designing for made things so much smoother and clearer when we got into prototyping and designing.

 

Working as a Project Manager has its challenges, and one of these was learning how to communicate with and encourage each of my team members. There were times when language barriers and hidden expectations started to get the best of us, but it was valuable practice for me to take time to hear and understand each member’s opinion. 

I loved working on this project, and I was incredibly proud of the work that myself and my team put forward. Pictured below is our final presentation at our senior capstone event.

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From left to right: Junior Than-Trien, Su Li, Ben Siev, Angela Welk (me), Yin Yin, Abraham Avnisan (professor)